A Quick Post on the Daily Prompt

The Daily Post’s Daily Prompt today is “Smell You Later.” You can see the post here. The prompt is:

Humans have very strong scent memory. Tell us about a smell that transports you.

This one came to me easily.  The smell of Biolage shampoo transports me to the summer of 1990.

Biolage Shampoo

I didn’t realize that I used this shampoo for that entire summer until a few years after I stopped using it. When I went back to  it again I was immediately transported to that summer.

What a great summer!

I’d just finished freshman year of college and got a job teaching dance at the summer camp run by the city where I grew up. Every morning, back when I thought that 8 a.m. was early, I rode the bus with the day campers out to the “wilderness” of New Jersey. I remember sunshine and kids and dancing. I remember I taught the campers a dance to a song called “Under the Sea” from The Little Mermaid even though they wanted to dance to New Kids on the Block. I had a summer fling with a cute boy counselor. I did crafts and ate crappy camp hot dogs and escorted kids to the nurse’s cabin.

I remember riding the bus all the way back to the city in the afternoon with the day campers, just to hop in my car and drive the hour back to the camp to hang out with the sleepaway counselors. I’d get back home just in time to get a couple of hours of sleep, before getting on the bus again in the morning to go back to camp. It was Kid Fun all day and Counselor Fun at night.

I remember the afternoon when the count on the homeward-bound bus was short a kid and we scoured the camp like crazy people looking for him. The lifeguard had a foot in the gross lagoon thinking the kid had fallen in and drowned. When we found the kid an hour later hiding under the bus seats, we wanted to kill him ourselves! The next day, the counselors enlisted the help of the campers to chase the prankster kid around the camp and bombard him with water balloons.

The entire summer played out like a fun movie, and one sniff of Biolage brings me right back.

I hold that summer in my heart as one of my favorites, I think because it was the last time I had a job that didn’t feel like “work.” When I taught dance during high school, I never thought of it as “work.”  It was more like getting paid for doing something I loved. That camp summer was the last time I taught dance.  My dance career was coming to a natural ending– I wasn’t going pro and wasn’t pursuing teaching. Not only was I doing something I loved that summer, but I was doing it in the sunshine, with summer friends and fun kids in a beautiful setting.

During that summer I was young, but responsibly irresponsible. My biggest obstacle was waking up “early” to get to the bus on time for the day campers. Don’t get me wrong– my twenties, like everyone else’s, were full of drama. I have plenty of memories that I would never want to go back to– those cringeworthy moments that now, in my 40’s, I cut myself some slack and chalk up to “figuring it all out.” But not that camp summer. That summer was perfect.

So now when I smell that classic Biolage shampoo smell, I transport right back to camp. I think of dance, and The Little Mermaid. I think of sun, trees, laughter, kids, fun, dirt, lakes. Images flip through my mind of a lovely, carefree summer that I hope every twenty-something gets to experience in their life.

Is there a summer that you remember as the last great “hurrah” of your youth?

Thanks for reading and have a nice night.

9 Comments

  1. My smell memories are tied to working in a hospital (don’t ask), but my last fling summer experience was a statewide honors choir camp. It was was the first thing I worked hard to br good at. Still yours sounds much better. It made me smile!

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  2. Whenever I smell burning wood, or rather, a particular wood burning, and its sweet aroma filling the air, I’m right back to when I was ten years old in Italy. I’ll never forget walking to town on this empty, dirt road, and the old folk burning wood to keep the nights warm from the cool air. That smell has always stayed with me and has never let me go. That is an incredible summer I will never forget!

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